Writing a Kick Ass Media Release


Penelope Herbert

The Hot Pepper Group Pty Ltd


Media releases are an excellent avenue for getting your message to a wide and targeted audience. But let me start by advising you what a media release IS NOT - it's not gratuitous advertising. A media release must be new, happening now and relevant to the audience. What may be important to you, may not be important to an Editor - so how do you go about getting their attention?

1. UNDERSTAND the demographic and audience of the target media . If it's print media, READ IT. If it's radio media, LISTEN TO IT. If it's television, WATCH IT. Don't insult an Editor or Journalist by being ignorant of their medium.

2. BE VERY CLEAR about your objective before you write a media release or contact the media. What is the message you want the media to deliver for you?

3. THE CONTENTS of a media release should represent an inverted pyramid - make sure all the juicy stuff is at the top. The first two paragraphs must contain all the who, where, why, what, when and how information of the release. This is not only to capture the attention of the reader but also because most busy Editors will cut out information from the bottom up.

4. INCLUDE unique and interesting angles to the story - give the Editor or Journalist more than one 'hook'. Remember, your story may not be accepted because a similar story has already been covered. Giving unique angles and hooks will make your story stand out.

5. WRITE a strong, provocative, funny, punchy or controversial headline to grab maximum attention.

6. TESTIMONIALS or quotes can be strong inclusions so consider using a satisfied client to provide a quote or write a strong quote from your spokesperson (usually the Managing Director or a key executive).

7. Do not lie - EVER.

8. AVOID jargon or language that is too technical unless your media release is targeting a very specific interest group via a magazine, trade journal, radio or television segment.

9. INCLUDE a great image taken by a professional photographer - high resolution digital preferred. If sending a hard copy, write your details on a sticker and affix to the back of the photograph - do NOT write directly on to a photograph.

10. ALWAYS include the correct contact details of your media spokesperson and ensure that person is available. The media will not chase you for a story - there's always another one coming along. Make it as easy as possible for the media to deal with you.

11. OWN THE BUZZ: Jump in to the fray by being the first and the best to provide details of a story.

12. DO NOT ring and ask if your media release has been received or if it will be used unless you have a good relationship with the recipient. Editors and journalists do not have time to field calls from every person or organisation that sends them information. Respect this.

HOT TIP! It’s not always the mainstream media that may be the most suitable for your media release. Look at your local community newspaper or radio, a Chamber of Commerce or industry specific newsletter, multi-cultural press, internet sites, school publications, etc.

Penelope is the author of ‘Success in a Briefcase’ ©2006 – a business communication and media relationship manual suitable for any sized business, order direct or via the website www.hotpeppergroup.com.au. The Hot Pepper Group is a public relations, written communication, event management and graphic design company. www.hotpeppergroup.com.au


As a published writer and media professional, I am delighted to share with you information on public relations techniques and building media relationships that will be of benefit to your business. I have worked in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Malaysia and North America in roles relating to media, publishing, marketing, event management, international relations, publicity and public relations. I am now the Managing Director of the Hot Pepper Group Pty Ltd - a company that offers three business ...

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